Search Engine Marketing: Time Stands Still For No Man Or Website.

Kevin Costner once famously said ‘build it and they will come’.

Now obviously that was fiction and it related to the construction of a sports stadium, but there’s a tendency amongst some online businesses to believe that this rather simplistic philosophy applies to them too. They mistakenly believe that all they need to do to run a successful online business is build a website and let the rest take care of itself.

Sadly experience shows that this just doesn’t happen.

Time stands still for no man, and the same applies to websites.Unless online businesses constantly add to and update their websites regularly, they will soon become one of the also-rans. So, what can online businesses do to keep their websites relevant and vibrant? What sort of changes can they make that will make their search engine marketing campaigns more targeted and effective?

Quantity is as important as quality for any website.

Many people would argue that content is king. It’s a rather overused phrase, but like most catch-lines it is founded on truth. The better quality material you can add to your website, the better it will be received. What’s often overlooked is that quantity is an equally important SEO strategy. Simply having a basic website is no longer enough to generate the amount of business to make an online company successful. The most successful businesses spend significant amounts of money keeping their websites vibrant and are constantly adding new content and webpages. Smaller businesses can no longer rely on simple one or two page websites to generate traffic and sales:  they need to up the ante, particularly if they’re investing cash in SEM campaigns. What they should be doing is developing their websites and adding further pages, whether that’s landing pages or product pages. The more relevant and targeted information you can provide for your customer, the better.

Choose your keywords carefully.

It goes without saying that keywords are crucial to the success of any SEM campaign. They have to be relevant to your particular line of business and focused. However, competition is now tighter than ever and there will inevitably be others targeting the same keywords, so your business needs to make every effort to distance itself from the competition and accentuate what makes you different. This has taken on even more significance since Google dropped the number of first page listings from 10 to 7 earlier this month. Don’t forget to establish your local credentials either, as this is the fastest growing area of online business.  Use plurals, abbreviations or colloquialisms if appropriate as all of these have their uses. If you’re struggling to choose relevant keywords, you can always have a look at Google Adwords keyword tool for inspiration, but using the most popular keywords is unlikely to attract additional business. Once you’ve decided on the appropriate keywords, make sure they’re embedded not only in your website’s copy, but also in its source code. This makes it easier for search engines to rate it.

Use your keywords in relevant advertisements.

Don’t forget to include your chosen keywords in any special promotional offers or discounts you plan to market. What you’re offering may be ‘special’, but it won’t sell itself. Customers need to be persuaded to move in the right direction: they won’t necessarily do what you expect them to, so make sure you guide them to where you want them to go. Always ensure you include a call to action with the offer and ask them to ‘buy’ or ‘sign up’ to whatever it is you’re offering.

Don’t underestimate the value of customised landing pages.

Your website’s home page may look good and tick all the boxes, but it won’t necessarily generate the level of sales you’d like. So try to create customised landing pages for each of the products or services you’re offering. These pages should obviously be specifically related to your chosen keywords. Customised landing pages make it much easier for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for. If they have to access your website through the main page and then need to search further to find what they’re looking for, they’ll probably get frustrated and look elsewhere. If your business wants to attract new custom, or build on what it already has, then it’s sometimes necessary to serve the information up on a plate to the customer.

However, it’s worth stressing that even when you’ve made these changes, your business can’t afford to stand still. You’ll need to test the effectiveness of the new keywords and re-test if necessary, as well as continuing to build in additional content to keep your website fresh and relevant.

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